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Preparing your little ones for a Charlotte Mason Education

September 3, 2012

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth; physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education”

Charlotte Mason

Out of our four children the two youngest have never been to a nursery, school or any kind of government institution; Micah is now 4 and is eager to ‘start school’ on Wednesday (hopefully will have got ourselves organised by then!) along with his older siblings, but what he’s failed to realise just yet is that his ‘home’ education started from birth.

Most children grow and develop in a society where ‘learning’ starts at the age of 4 or 5 in a small class room; it begins at 8.30am and finishes at 3.15pm; I consider it a great privilege to raise and educate my children at home; to be their greatest influence and to be able to create a ‘supportive atmosphere for learning’ from the moment they take their first breath.

Education truly is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life and what greater way to train up a child than in an atmosphere of freedom, peace and gentle direction.

I’m already preparing my 19 month old daughter for a ‘Charlotte Mason education’; a life long love of learning in God’s creation. Two of the first signs she learnt (baby sign language) were ‘bird’ and ‘flower’ – it thrills me to see her running around the garden excited and shouting ‘Mama Mama’ whilst signing at every bird she see’s – she’s learning to look and soak in the world God has put her in.

Remember to take delight in everything your young children are learning; be intentional in your listening and observing of their play and behaviour – it’s amazing to capture.

I was recently bathing Micah; he had two toys in his hands; one was metal (strange for a bath toy but he’s 4!) and one was plastic – he enthusiastically explained to me how one of the toys floated and one sank to the bottom of the bath – I didn’t ask too many questions or push what he had ‘learned’ but just delighted in this early years bath time scientific and mathematical discovery that my son was having.

Our children love to learn and as Miss Mason reminds us in her seven keys of learning ‘active’ involvement is vital to learning.

Although we may not embark on too much formal ‘teaching’ and narrating in these early years we can gently prepare our little ones for a love for learning; for listening and for looking. So why not let your 3 year old lead you on your next nature walk (at your own risk ha ha!) or snuggle up tonight with your nursling and read a few of the Mother Goose classics or A. A Milne’s ‘Now we are Six’ – it’s never too early!

How are your younger ones preparing for a Charlotte Mason education?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. tara permalink
    September 7, 2012 1:03 pm

    hi leah loved this post ive just begun homeschooling with my 5 year old.i’m new to this and wondered what you used to teach your children to read?i’m worrying i won’t be able to get her to the reading stage.i would really welcome your thoughts .
    blessings tara

    • leahboden permalink*
      September 11, 2012 1:21 pm

      Hi Tara – thanks for your comment; the first thing is that there really is no rush for your daughter to read so don’t worry 🙂 In the education system there are ages and stages but at home you can learn at their pace. I read LOTS to my children as I’m sure you do, I like them to see words and enjoy good stories and as they become more interested I introduce phonics – this article from simply Charlotte Mason puts it well: – hope that’s helpful! Happy learning – Lx

  2. September 11, 2012 1:23 pm

    Love this post! Yes…the best education comes naturally throughout each day especially for the younger children…I always try to include my 3 yo in our nature explorations and she is truly starting to catch the “nature love” through this…she often points things out to me! I just naturally point out things that I love in nature and that I notice through out our days and it seems to really be “catching”. I’ve started “showing” and just letting my 7 mo old be in the grass, feeling (yes & tasting 😉 ) leaves etc…petting and touching our kittens etc. I want to do more with her too…just to be purposeful to immerse them in it…not really “teaching” persae but giving them the opportunity to be exposed to God’s creation…

    • leahboden permalink*
      September 11, 2012 1:29 pm

      Ahhhh yes – love it all Amy Marie; what a wonderful start in their learning life for our precious children! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 L

      • tara permalink
        September 11, 2012 7:02 pm

        hi leah,thankyou for the links. i must admit i’ve been having sleepless nights over this .I think i’m trying too hard to keep along side what she would be doing at school rather than letting her find her own pace.
        may god bless you and your family

      • leahboden permalink*
        September 12, 2012 4:10 pm

        Bless you Tara – stay in peace! L

  3. September 20, 2012 1:38 pm

    I remember telling my mother-in-law that my then preschool-age daughter loved flowers, and my mother-in-law said, “Well, who doesn’t love flowers?” It was such a practical reply from my MIL, but made me wonder if the kids in schools all day really get to know and love flowers (and other things) in the same way. I’m sure they do many nice things, but it’s so much more fun to love flowers because you spend your time with them rather than learn about them in a lesson plan while sitting at Circle Time indoors. Anyway, this is a lovely post and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for participating in the CM Carnival!

    • leahboden permalink*
      September 20, 2012 4:10 pm

      Thank you! Thanks for hosting a great carnival 🙂 L

  4. September 21, 2012 2:11 pm

    I love that opening quote–so true! I’m schooling my two oldest (age 6) and have a bunch of little ones along for the ride, and it’s amazing I can see their hearts and minds being primed for those “great thoughts,” if they are not having “great thoughts” already!

    • leahboden permalink*
      September 22, 2012 5:18 pm

      Thank you – it’s amazing to watch isn’t it? L

  5. September 22, 2012 12:18 am

    Love the first quote – Miss Mason and her analogies! Thank you for sharing so simply and clearly how learning can take place for the young child in an atmosphere of love and interest.

    From joy to joy,

    • leahboden permalink*
      September 22, 2012 5:20 pm

      Thank you Nancy – YOU are a constant inspiration; feel like I’m still at the staring block of my CM journey but love it so much; nourishes my soul! L

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